HR technology helps businesses complete vital scheduling, performance tracking, recruiting and payroll tasks. If your company needs it, you have two major options: you can install conventional on-premise, computer-based applications or access a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web-based HR software through your browser.
TechTarget reports that many corporations have switched to cloud-based HRIS systems in recent years. In fact, web-based HR software topped the list of our study on HR software buying trends. Well-known companies like Equifax, Twitter and Hewlett-Packard all use these HR software solutions, but they appeal to numerous small businesses as well.
Despite its popularity, however, it’s crucial to consider both the pros and cons associated with web-based HR software.
Web-Based HR Software Advantages
After your business signs up and pays for a web-based solution, your HR professionals can begin using it immediately. There’s no need to wait an extended period of time to download huge files or run installs. If a computer already has a compatible web browser, you don’t need to install any new applications to get your web-based HR software up and running.
You can use web-based technology on a laptop in any location that has an adequate Internet connection. Some providers also offer smartphone or tablet access. The system stores all of your human resources information on a central server, so your data is always available as well. Consequently, you won’t need to copy files or applications from one computer to another.
The majority of today’s web-based HR software provide employee self-service, which means that your employees can log in to view their information. This helps keep your employees engaged, since they can easily track their time and attendance, vacation days, payments, etc. And an added bonus of employee self-service is that it streamlines your HR processes. Rather than sending an email requesting time off, they can request it with a few clicks in your web-based HR software. Once that request is received, all your HR managers have to do is click to accept or deny it. If it’s accepted, it’s automatically recorded in the employee database, saving them valuable time.
Most cloud software developers regularly backup all of your employee data and HR data stored in their HR systems. You’re unlikely to experience significant data loss if a provider’s server fails. Likewise, you won’t lose information when an office computer’s hard drive ceases to function. A staff member can immediately switch to a different computer and continue working. This is especially helpful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources for frequent backups, which puts their data at risk.
Web-based programs automatically stay up to date. You don’t need to manually download updates or install them. This enhances reliability and saves time. It will also help your company comply with new labor regulations. In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management reported changes to numerous laws regarding employee privacy, sick leave, wages and tips.
If you want the latest HR management features every year, you’ll want to use web-based HR software. On-premise systems don’t provide free updates, since you buy the version outright. With web-based systems, however, your monthly subscription fee includes access to all of the newest updates as soon as they’re available. So if you need that new performance management, benefits administration or payroll feature, the only way to get them for free is to use web-based HR software.
Furthermore, web-based systems cut labor costs because your employees don’t need to waste time installing or maintaining additional updates. Consistent updates also mitigates the risk of your HR system becoming obsolete.
Web-based HR software usually offers a better solution for companies with locations in multiple countries. Most programs allow users to select one of several languages. These systems also centralize your employee data, making it easy to access from offices around the world.
Web-Based HR Software Disadvantages
A downside of online file storage and global access is that they increase your risk of data breaches. All of your HR data has to travel through the Internet before it reaches a web-based server. Although security software and encryption minimize the risk, it’s not impossible for hackers to intercept your confidential data.
Web-based solutions make your business more dependent on the Internet. When an outage occurs, your HR professionals lose the ability to access data and perform general HR tasks. This drawback causes more problems for companies in remote regions or areas with frequent severe weather.
Web-based HR software has the potential to change in undesirable ways. For example, the provider could raise its subscription fee or require a new browser that necessitates hardware upgrades. Your business can permanently acquire the current edition of a web-based system by making a one-time payment, so costs are more predictable. This software remains the same unless you decide to replace or update it.
Some companies find it difficult to integrate web-based HR software with other business applications. This usually happens when they use cloud software from multiple providers or continue to run certain computer-based programs. It’s important to investigate the compatibility of your different systems before attempting to use them all together.
Is Web-Based HR Software Worth It?
There are certainly several pros and cons to using online HR systems. But, when an on-premise system and a web-based solution supply equivalent features, the web-based system generally delivers the most benefits. It offers much greater flexibility and convenience, not to mention robust HR management that keeps up with the latest features.
Nonetheless, traditional on-premise systems still provide a better choice for companies with unreliable Internet connections. They also give companies more control over HR data and software configuration.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to what your business, specifically, requires. If you have a reliable internet connection and need the latest features, use a web-based solution. But if you need to keep your data as secure as possible and you need to integrate it with existing on-premise systems, choose an on-premise HR software.